Have you experienced hard days as a stepmom? Do you wonder why stepdads seem to have an easier time bonding with their stepchildren than stepmoms?
Not all step-relationships are the same. In our own family, the relationships I have with my stepchildren are very different than those of my husband and his stepdaughters.
When my girls began to call my husband Dad a few years into our marriage, I knew it reflected their growing relationship with their stepdad. But I was jealous of the bonds they’d formed and wondered what I was doing wrong as a stepmom.
There are countless variables that contribute to step-relationships and the blending process.
One variable that remains constant, however, is the uphill road of a stepmother.
In his book, The Smart Stepfamily, Ron Deal explains what makes the stepmom role so hard.
“Stepmothers are at an even greater disadvantage than stepfathers for a number of reasons.
First, children tend to maintain more frequent contact with their noncustodial mothers.
Second, children’s attachment to their biological mother is believed to be stronger than their attachment to their father, making the acceptance and bonding with a stepmother even more difficult.
Third, because society expects women to achieve a higher relational standard than men, stepmothers feel greater pressure to build a strong attachment with stepchildren. Despite societal changes in women’s roles throughout the world, women still bear the primary responsibility for child care, maintenance, and nurturance of children. Stepmothers are not excused from these responsibilities, and they try to fulfill society’s expectations by working hard at building a relationship–only to discover a strong loyalty to the biological mom standing in the way.”
Can you relate? Are you trying to build a bond with your stepchildren that simply isn’t possible?
When I realized the variables I was competing against as I struggled to bond with my stepchildren, I better understood where I was headed. I didn’t quit trying to grow a meaningful relationship with them, but my guilt was lifted as I quit expecting the same kind of relationship I saw between my husband and his stepdaughters.
It’s not easy to create close bonds with your stepchildren as a stepmom but it isn’t impossible either.
As I spent my birthday recently with my husband and stepdaughter, I was reminded of how far we’ve come. Our early years were very difficult, but the blessings I enjoy now outweigh the challenges of years’ past.
Don’t give up if you’re experiencing some bumps on your stepmom journey. Expect them! But get up again and keep forging forward to find blessings in the end.
Has your stepmom journey been difficult? Can you share encouraging tips on how you’ve kept going on hard days?
Pic By Stuart Miles